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for its own sake, who are ready to do anything to beat the Equitable, even if they must ride down and trample upon their own policyholders to accomplish their purpose; who are always crying reform where there is no reform, or practicing liberality to strangers at the expense of their own steadfast members; who disregard principle; who eschew science; who do not scruple to obliterate the old land-marks; who are clever and smart and superficially and temporarily successful, but who are all the time doing injury to their policyholders and to the noble calling of life assurance.
Now, the Equitable belongs to neither of these classes. It does not belong to the first category, because the companies of that class are neither aggressive nor progressive, and the Equitable is both. It does not belong to the second category, because the Equitable does hold to sound doctrine; it does seek to protect its members; it does aim to do only a sound, wholesome, lasting business. It belongs to a third, and altogether different, class.
It has done more than any other company to develop and improve the practice of modern life assurance.
Have you ever thought what assurance would be to-day if the Equitable had never existed, and if its first President, and its second President, and its third President had never lived? I once had a dream of precisely that situation, and this is what I saw in my vision. The business was restricted to a few dry channels. The policy contract had grown and grown until it had become twenty or thirty pages in length-a technical and obscure legal instrument loaded down with arduous conditions, leaving to the widow and orphan a lawsuit instead of a legacy; resulting in contests and disputes. In the few cases where some return was made to the beneficiaries it was after hope deferred had made the heart utterly sick. No reiurn of the entire reserve at any period was guaranteed. No promise of a full share of surplus profits at any time was made. Every company had its staff of adjusters traveling over the country digging up points to be used in resisting the payment of claims. The whole system had become a snare and a delusion, and was steadily falling into decay.
But this was only a dream. As a matter of fact, during the last forty years improvements and reforms have followed one another in quick succession, and the Equitable has, in nearly every instance, been the company to introduce them. It has cleared the way; it has made the path smooth; and whenever it has penetrated into a new country it has there established peace and safety, and the other companies have followed in and shared the advantage. The Equitable has ever been the first company to see the need for reform, and it has had the nerve to act first and alone, and the grit to stand steadfast when assailed for taking the initiative.
TRUE ENTERPRISE. There are a few agents who acknowledge the truth of all this as far as the past is concerned, but who sometimes wonder whether the Equitable has not during recent years ceased to advance—allowing other companies to get ahead of it. Do not permit any such fallacy to dim your vision. Remember that it is one thing to go forward along the right path in the right direction, and another and a very different thing to dash ahead heedlessly over a path that may finally lead you over the cliff. Not all new things are reforms, and if the Equitable is not introducing something new at every turn it is because it has brought the practice of American life assurance to so complete a state that most of the great and far-reaching reforms are things of the past. Consequently when the Equitable calls a halt it is not because it has lost courage, but because it has arrived. Again, if some other company introduces some new thing that tends to evil and disintegration and the Equitable says: “No, our motto is, Not for a day, but for all time,” its protest does not indicate a faint heart or diminished enterprise.
PECUNIARY VALUE OF SENTIMENT. It is a privilege to the agent to be connected with such a company as the Equitable, and the fact that it is such a company draws the staff officers and field officers together as those of no other company can be drawn.
And this is no mean advantage. It "cuts ice." "There's money in it." It means dollars for the agent. Just as the stream
cannot rise above the level of the spring, so the agent cannot instill into the mind of the man he solicits more confidence than he has within himself. With the successful agent it is the transfer of his enthusiasm to the applicant, but the agent cannot have genuine enthusiasm about a company in which he has little confidence himself. Since it is true, therefore, that the agent can place absolute reliance upon the management of the Equitable, that certainty will create in him a burning zeal, and that zeal will have a money value with which he can purchase success. The agent is a sort of automobile, dead and motionless if his storage battery is exhausted, but if he can charge himself with electricity at the Equitable power-house he can take passengers aboard and carry them to their destination.
Such facts as these explain why some men of ability fail to produce adequate results even when they occupy the richest fields; while men of inferior capacity in poorer fields succeed. It is for such reasons that men of moderate attainments often outrun men of exceptional force, and that those who are weak sometimes accomplish more than those who are strong. But when the strongest man, in the most fruitful territory, is overflowing with sentiment about the strongest and best company in the world, then it is that brilliant achievements astonish the people.
Let me recapitulate. The agent's success depends upon himself-upon the condition of his own mind, and its concentration on his work. If he lacks confidence in his company and its policy of management, his mind will not be attuned to his work, and he will not achieve marked success. Hence, it pays for the agent to be identified with such a company as the Equitable, for thereby he will be charged with a mental and spiritual force which will enable him to convince those with whom he talks, and thus constrain them to cast in their lot with us. A SIGNIFICANT ILLUSTRATION OF THE PRAC
TICAL VALUE OF SENTIMENT. And how can the value of a loyal enthusiasm be illustrated more fittingly than by referring to a recent exhibition of sentiment on the part of the agents of the Equitable: an exhibition unparalleled in the history of
life assurance? The officers are proud of their association with a body of such loyal agents as those who at the close of the year 1899 rose as one man to resist an assault upon the fair fame and prosperity of their beloved Society. What a notable uprising it was !
Glance for a moment at the facts:
As the year 1899 came to a close it was known to all the world that the entire agency force of the Society was entering upon a period of transition. The officers of another company reasoned thus: "With the agents of the Equitable it is purely a matter of dollars and cents. They will all be foot-loose at the beginning of the year. They expect to be compensated hereafter on a basis--better for them in the long run, it is true—but less remunerative in the beginning. Hence, as they are likely to look no further than the ends of their own noses, and as they will be in an unseitled and uncertain frame of mind at that time, they can easily be dazzled by offers of immediate advantage; we can readily draw them from their allegiance to the Equitable, and by such a course we shall gain a two-fold advantage: we shall add to our glory and seriously cripple an active competitor."
But they reckoned without their host. They little knew the sentiment of the Equitable's agents. What was the result? First, indignation; then enthusiasm; finally, a welding of those bands of confidence and sympathy which have always bound the Equitable and its officers and its agents together. From that hour a burning zeal has characterized the work of the agents of the Equitable Society, unexampled even in our own history, noted as it is for so many signal triumphs.
And this exhibition of loyalty has been so remarkable that I can liken it only to that spirit of patriotism which so recently thrilled through every fibre of the American people. Do not smile, then, if I quote words that are threadbare, but whose meaning must ever be fresh and inspiring
"Breathes there a man with soul so dead
This is my own, my native land?” Breathes there an agent of the Equitable who never has said to himself. “This is my own, my chosen company, of which I am
justly proud, in which I have immovable confidence, under whose banner I shall always serve, in whose successes I rejoice, and whose triumphs will ever be my triumphs?"
If there be in our ranks an agent who is without this spirit of loyalty let him examine himself to see whether he has not failed to attain to a full measure of success, because he has not yet reached a complete development.
THE AGENT'S REWARD IS NOT SIMPLY A CON. SCIOUSNESS OF VIRTUE: HE SECURES IN
ADDITION A PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE.
And now, as a parting word, remember this:
Virtue may be its own reward, but it is a very pleasant thing if, in addition to that reward we receive a liberal cash dividend. And, if my contention is sound, the agent who is imbued with the true Equitable spirit will receive that dividend, for the agent who has this sentiment will do a larger and a better business; and if he does a larger and a better business he will make more money; and if he makes more money he can extend his field of operations, and his success and prosperity will steadily increase.
TWO EXTREMES. One of the most promising agents of the Society in Pittsburg is a youth who has just broken away from the apron strings of his Alma Mater. If he had decided to study a profession instead of beginning to earn a living at once, it would be necessary to support himself and go to considerable expense while training himself for practical life, and after that he would have to begin at the bottom of the ladder. Even if he had decided to go into any ordinary branch of business it is doubtful if he could at the start have found a position to pay him more than a few dollars a week. As a life assurance agent, however, he made in the first month enough to support himself comfortably, and his business has steadily increased from month to month ever since.
Another of the Pittsburg agents is seventy-five years old. He received a prize at the recent convention for a large amount of business transacted. Among the many successful men identified with that agency he is in the first rank, and writes policies for very large amounts.
Here, then, are two extremes. In life assurance, young men of brains and energy can make a living without serving an apprenticeship, and, on the other hand, there is no dead-line which the older men need dread. Whatever Mr. Woods may think of the expediency of killing off old clergymen, he is ever ready to drink a bumper (of Apollinaris) to the long life of all his agents.
A GOOD ARGUMENT. The other day I called on one of my old policyholders, who is probably making today three times the income that he did five years ago. I had been after him for some time to increase his life assurance in proportion to his added means, but he always declared that he had enough, although as a matter of fact, he does not carry enough to secure his present income for more than two years.
I said to him, “Mr. H— , if you were to put $1,000 more furniture in your house, you would also put $1,000 more insurance on it, wouldn't you? And if you put $10,000 worth of extra goods in your store you would put $10,000 more insurance on it? Now, don't you think the same principle holds good with life assurance?"
I came away with his application for $25,000 in my pocket.
TO PAY FOR A HOME. One of the Society's metropolitan managers, in sending the letter below to the editor, says: The “simple faith” which you literary cusses have instilled into these poor widows—seeking to found homes in the general beneficence of life assurance, is inspiring to say the least.
Dear Sir.- Please let me know if there is any way by which I can take out a policy in your company and then sell it for cash. If so, what would be the cost of a policy, and what would be the discount? I am a widow, in good health, 38 years of age. My object is to raise money to pay for a home.
(We would like to pay for our cottage in the same way.--Er]
contract and the difficulties which each member has to contend with in canvassing, are discussed. At the meeting held on the 24th of February, several of the officers of the Society were present, and they were deeply interested in the practical value of the information iniparted by the Manager and by many of the members. Among other things he impressed upon those agents who busy themselves chiefly in writing one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand applications, the advantage of filling in the chinks with applications for smaller amounts.
He submitted to the agents certain dividend comparisons with various companies, showing the larger returns under Equitable policies and also showing the larger returns to the holders of deferred dividend policies as compared with those on the annual dividend plan. In the case of one competitor, where the return at the end of the accumulation period was far below that of the Equitable, he called attention to a table of the business transacted by the two companies in the State of Pennsylvania during the last five years, the comparison showing an enormous advantage for the Equitable, although the other company is one of the three largest organizations in the world.
Mr. Anson A. Maner asks:
“Would it not be wise to insert a leaflet in the “Record” saying if any of the friends of the policyholders desire this periodical, if the names were sent in by the policyholder to the Society or its managers, the same will be attended to? I thought possibly this suggestion might meet with your approval. If not, there is no harm done. The idea would be, of course, for the agent to deliver the first copy personally.”
What do you think about this. It strikes us as a very good idea, but it would be practically impossible for the Home Office to look after sending the RECORDS continuously to anyone excepting its policyholders. Wouldn't it pay the managers, however, to follow up such cases, the agent, as Mr. Maher says, delivering the first copy? If the agent succeeds in making him a member of the Society, he will, of course, receive his copy thereafter from the Home Office. Let us hear from you on this subject.
The Buffalo News, of February 2, said: "A complimentary dinner was given to Dr. Edward W. Lambert, of New York, at the Iroquois Hotel last evening by about forty members of the Buffalo agency of the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
"Dr. Lambert is the original and senior medical director of the Society, and the only surviving original officer. He is the acknowledged authority on insurance matters in his department, and is so regarded throughout the insurance world. The agency's medical examiners from Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Lockport, Warsaw, Olean, Gowanda, Lancaster, as well as the city examiners, were present. A. F. Aird, manager of the agency, presided.”
We advise every Equitable Manager who has the opportunity, to pay a visit to Pittsburg to study the manner in which the Western Pennsylvania Agency is conducted.
The Equitable Lunch Club, an organization of the Western Pennsylvania agents of the Society, has become an important engine for the advancement of the interests of the agency.
At the meetings of the club, which are of a confidential character, the Society, its policy of management, its forms of
Your particular attention is called to the announcer ent on the last page of this issue. This is intended for an "exchange" of views between all the members of the Equitable family, and not for a medium to air the views of the home office.
ANNUAL CONVENTION IN PITTSBURG.
Manager E. A. Woods gave his annual banquet to the members of the Western Pennsylvania Agency at the Schenley Hotel in Pittsburg on the 23d of February. More than one hundred persons sat down to dinner in the great ball room of the hotel. Among the guests of the evening were the Secretary, Actuary, and Mr. Dean, irom the home office; Mr. Bowes, of Baltimore; Mr. Rosenfeld, of Cincinnati, and Messrs. McCook, Watterson and a number of other prominent citizens of Pittsburg.
The most eloquent oration was delivered by Mr. Bowes. The Manager's address was full of practical matter. Mr. Van Cise in a dignified and earnest speech impressed upon those present the fact that the officers and directors of the Equitable are all of one mind, and that their constant aim is to so conduct the business of the Society that it may ever claim to be the “strongest in the world.”
Many stories were told by the various speakers, and throughout the evening there were roars of laughter and thunders of applause, but the Western Pennsylvania Agency is a magnificent business organization, and underneath all the fun and enjoyment it was obvious that the banquet had a serious business purpose and that the agents in attendance would go forth with cool heads and clear brains, conquering and to conquer. Already their business this year is well in advance of last year.
The generous Manager, at the close of the entertainment, presented to certain of the agents a number of valuable prizes for work done and records made. Mr. R. P. Clark received two prizes, one a ticket for himself and his wife to the Paris Exposition, and the other a handsome gold time piece.
ANOTHER BEHIND MAN. We've heard so much about the men who
are behind the guns, And those behind the behind man beneath
the tropic suns, And men behind the counter-slab, the men
behind the bar, The men behind the engine crank, and the
butt of a cigar. And the men behind the Government, the
men behind the "pull," And other men away behind because
they're loaded fullBut there's a human specimen who's miss
ing from the list, A sneaking, bleating lambkin and a
blooming pessimist, Who protests as the nation swift to great
est glory climbsThe sneaking, snivelling hypocrite—"the man behind the times!” J. O.
-N. Y. Sun. [The man most notoriously "behind the times” is the man who has failed to have his life assured. It is the duty of the agent to see that his fellowman does not stay "behind the times,” but keeps right up with the parade-and as near the band wagon as possible.-Ed.]
It is with great regret that the cfficers of the Society are obliged to announce the death of Mr. James Thomas, an old friend of the Society, and its valued representative in Central America for over twenty years. Mr. Thomas died in Managua on February 24th, 1900, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He has been a most zealous champion of, and worker for, the Equitable. By his loyalty, keen foresight and good judgment he was able to save the Society from loss and expense, and was called upon many times to act in emba :rassing contingencies, at which times he protected the Society in a most energetic and skillful manner.
Mr. Thomas was remarkable not only for dignified and imposing presence, but for a kindly and genial nature. No person met him without being impressed with his simplicity and sterling integrity. He managed for many years a most difficult field, and it will be almost impossible to find one who can in all respects fill his place.
PAY UP NOW. Last week a delinquent subscriber said he would pay up if he lived. He died. Another said: “I will see you to-morrow." He's blind. Still another said: "I'll pay you this week or go to the devil." He's gone. There are hundreds who ought to take warning of these procrastinators and pay rp now.-Finley (S. D.) Slope. [Same way with life assurance.-Ed.]